Common sense college savings legislation

A college education is an investment in a child’s future. In the face of rising higher education costs, our nation should be doing what we can to help families make that investment.

With more than 12 million accounts open, 529 college savings plans have proven to be a successful way for families to manage college costs and ease the reliance on student loans. Additionally, studies have found that students with a college savings account of any amount of money are six to seven times more likely to attend college than similar students with no dedicated college savings.

{mosads}Congress needs to ensure that these vital savings vehicles remain as affordable, effective and versatile as possible to ensure families have greater financial access to education in this country.

H.R. 529 and S. 335, legislation that has passed the full House and been reported out of the Senate Finance Committee, would do just that. The legislation, which passed the House with an overwhelming support of Republicans and Democrats by a vote of 401-20, would allow college students to use 529 funds for computers and other school-related technology and electronic equipment.  It would also allow students to redeposit funds back in a 529 within 60 days without penalty if they need to withdraw from a college class. 

These plans were designed specifically to help families achieve their higher education savings goals. None of these changes are costly to the government. Rather, they are common sense measures designed to help families save for higher education costs.  Improvements in this bill will help put a college degree within reach of more of our country’s youth.

We thank those Congressional leaders who have been key in driving this legislation forward including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.). We encourage Congress to keep supporting this legislation, which will have a profound impact on the families who make the financial commitment to save for college.

Recent reports show the next generation of parents has pledged to save more for college education, in an effort to save their children the headache of student loan debt they have endured. We must make sure we are doing all we can to protect and enhance the platforms that let them save.

Lochner is the chair of the College Savings Plans Network and the director of the Washington Guaranteed Education Tuition, the 529 Plan of the State of Washington. Boozer is the state treasurer of Alabama and vice-chair of the College Savings Plans Network.

Tags Ben Cardin Chuck Grassley Mark Warner Pat Roberts Richard Burr Robert Casey Ron Kind

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